TikTok makes searching easier than ever.
TikTok’s search widget is now available for iPhone users, giving you a shortcut to its search. So instead of opening the app and SO by clicking on the search button, when you tap on the widget, you are automatically taken to the search screen of TikTok. This saves you 5 seconds maximum but suggests that the platform doubles its status as a search engine. Gen Zers told Mashable they use TikTok to find recipes, travel recommendations and workouts.
TikTok hinted at its desire to be recognized as a search engine with an ad in the UK earlier this year that featured the tagline “Search it with TikTok”. And now, with its silent rollout, TikTok is in direct competition with Google’s own search widget.
TikTok’s focus on search comes after Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan, senior vice president of Google Search, shared that a study conducted by the company last summer(opens in a new tab) found that 40% of 18-24 year olds in the US use TikTok or Instagram to search for lunch spots instead of Google Search.
TikTok is also a place where people search for news. A survey by Ofcom last summer found TikTok to be the fastest growing news source among UK adults. But research by News Guard late last year found that TikTok’s research suggests misinformation almost 20% of the time. To be taken seriously as a search engine, TikTok needs to address its rampant misinformation problem.